journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Going Back on Medication & OCD

After 13 months of no medication and managing a range of conditions by myself, I realised I could no longer manage without some sort of intervention. I went to my doctor yesterday to discuss my anxiety and any new relevant information. She decided (based on my medical history and on new symptoms) that Prozac would be the best option for me.

Prozac is a SSRI antidepressant that positively affects communication between nerve cells in the central nervous system and restores chemical balances within the brain. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and some anxiety conditions. Prozac is a strong medication and can cause more severe side effects compared to other medication. Common Prozac side effects may include sleep problems, dreams, headaches, dizziness, shaking, feeling anxious, weakness, tiredness, loss of appetite and weight loss, sweating or hot flashes, flu symptoms, nausea and tremors.

I know a lot of people have negative views on the use of medication for the treatment of mental health problems; especially when a comes to a drug as strong as Prozac. For 13 months I have pondered these views myself and believe that using medication is in my best interest. You would not rob an asthmatic of their inhaler or a diabetic of their insulin; why rob a sufferer of mental health their medication if it is needed?

Whilst at the doctors, some symptoms of OCD were picked up and then diagnosed, which I think is one of the core reasons I was put on this drug compared to other psychiatric medication.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Most people with OCD will have obsessions or compulsions. An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease. A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to carry out to try to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.

PROZAC

I’ll now be under review continuously for medication and checks on my mental health and there’s no guarantee that this will improve my mental health. However, medication is not a magic pill or an instant cure; it just makes things more manageable and helps sort out brain imbalances.

I will keep you guys updated on everything and hope that the next few months will be positive.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

10 Weeks Away – UPDATE

I feel like I haven’t wrote to you guys here in forever! Life has changed so much since I last posted in May.

In June, I flew across the other side of the world to work at a summer camp for children with special needs in the United States. I have been working with children since I was 15 and special needs children since I was 16 and have enjoyed every minute. These children make me feel complete – they give me purpose; they bring hope and positivity every single day.

Now, travelling across the world has its own challenges. Homesickness. Unfamiliarity. Loneliness…but the positives made everything so bearable. New friendships. Self-discovery. Passion. Feeling like you’re doing something good… Summer camp made me feel like I belonged. I discovered so much about myself and put all my love into those around me. I felt whole – like I was home. I have found my place.

Summer camp has been the best experience of my life. I have grown in so many ways, met so many different types of people as well as cultures…and discovered that even the people you expect to have it all together find it difficult too…

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In the terms of updating you guys on my journey – its been nearly 8 months since I came off medication for mental health. To me, that number is incredible! After being on medication for 18 months…not relying on any is a big deal (even though its a struggle).

My anxiety has its ups and down. I don’t think there’ll ever be a day where I will be completely anxiety free (well at least not in the near future) and I am completely okay with that. Anxiety has become a part of me. Anxiety has been with every single memory I have – I know no different. Although anxiety can be a negative thing in so many aspects…I pondered on it for a while recently and realised that my anxiety shapes my personality and brings some positives.

My anxiety makes me overthink – which allows me to be prepared for everything that could happen (but usually never does)

My anxiety sends me into panic and stops me feeling safe – which allows me to avoid danger (a lot of the time) due to being over-safe and checking everything (such as making sure doors are locked and being ultra-aware of my surroundings)

My anxiety makes me hypersensitive to everything around me – which allows me to be sensitive towards others and notice when things just aren’t quite right.

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I have missed each and every single one of you. You think I don’t notice you but I do – every like, every favourite, every comment, every blog share, every follow.

I love you guys so much and pray everyday that you choose recovery.

You deserve it.

I’ll post soon – I promise.

  • – Sav x
journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Update: 3 Months Without Meds

As most of you know, in January I made the difficult decision to stop ALL mental health medication. This means no medication, whatsoever. No mental health medication. No anti depressives, no anti psychotics, no sedatives, no mood stabilisers, no sleeping pills, etc. None. These types of psychiatric drugs should be withdrawn slowly to prevent regression, relapse and withdrawal symptoms. My decision to come off them was swift and within 2 days I went from being on medication to absolutely nothing (I don’t recommend this, not the best idea if I say so myself).

Now, there is a lot of speculation on whether psychiatric drugs are effective, safe and addictive. Sure, all psychiatric medication could cause withdrawal reactions. Psychiatric drugs can cause a wide range of symptoms when taking the drug. When first being taken off this medication, the person can feel markedly worse. This is due to a withdrawal reaction. I personally think that all medication works differently for everybody. Some people may get withdrawal symptoms, some may not. One drug may work for someone else but not for me or vice versa.

It’s been a struggle. A roller-coaster, even. Month 1, as I stated before, was horrendous. It was a month of adjustment, a month of no longer setting alarms to take meds, a month of feeling absolutely horrendous. Within days of being off medication my mood became vulnerable. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours increased, I was irritable, constantly crying and my anxiety always sat in my stomach. However, coming off the medication gave me more energy. Psychiatric drugs have been noted to cause drowsiness and increased fatigue and when I came off medication I felt so much more energised. I was actually able to sit on the sofa without falling asleep. I was able to leave the house without being overwhelmingly filled with tiredness.

Month 2 and 3 have been a blur. My memory, on the best of days, is awful, so trying to remember the adjustment of each month is beyond my comprehension. It hasn’t been easy, that much I can assure. Why would it be easy? Coming off medication does not mean that your illnesses are gone, it means that you are no longer controlling them by medication. When I was on medication, I was so set in believing that it wasn’t working. I was still feeling suicidal and down on medication but it wasn’t until I came off it that I noticed how much it actually worked. Medication doesn’t take your mental illnesses away. How awesome would medication be if it did that. If medication took your mental illnesses away, I’ve realised, it would also take your personality, your ability to wake up and breathe everyday. It would take you. Medication numbs your mental illnesses to the point where you can function. That’s how I explain it.

It’s been 3 months of balancing my mood, my anxieties and my pain all whilst trying to live and succeed at university. After month 3, I can honestly say that being off medication will not likely be a permanent thing and someday in the near future it will introduce itself to me again. What I can also say is that medication is not the answer to everything and even if I feel like I can no longer go on, God blesses me with a new day every time I open my eyes, and for that I’m always thankful.

 Please do your research before stopping any psychiatric medications. If you feel ready, organise an appointment or two to thoroughly discuss your options with your doctor. If you feel like you need medication for your mental health disorders, please do not be afraid to discuss this with your doctor  also- they will listen to your views and come up with a plan. Medication is not for everyone but some people need it to function, and that’s perfectly fine.

Be safe, I love you.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Update: 2 months without meds!

It’s been 2 months since I came off ALL medication for mental health problems. The decision to come off medication was decided pretty quickly and I know its something that should be considered for weeks and months. In order to pursue an opportunity of a lifetime, I needed to come off medication and therefore made the difficult decision to stop them. The first few days were great – I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms and wasn’t as tired.

Month 1 was very up and down. The first few days of coming off medication was absolutely amazing. I felt like I had more energy and didn’t need to nap. However, I did feel emotionally torn at first to part with them when they’ve been a rock for so long. I didn’t think they had been working anyway though and quickly got over the emotional attachment. Towards the end of the 1st month, symptoms of mental illness started coming back. On medication, I still experienced these symptoms but quickly came to realise that the medication at least helped ‘mild’ them out. These symptoms – without medication – hit with all the power they had. On medication, depressive symptoms weren’t constant, but arose now and again. Without medication, depressive symptoms were constant.

Month 2 wasn’t up or down – it was very much down. Suicidal thoughts, depressive episodes, panic attacks and self harm came 100 miles an hour. I’ve come to realise that although the medication did not get rid of mental illnesses nor did it stop symptoms, it prevented my mental illnesses getting extremely bad. Without medication, mental illness has full rein against your mind – or my mind at least.

I know that being on medication is different for everyone. A lot of people refuse to take any type of mental health medication, where as others seize the opportunity because therapy refuses to work. I’m still unsure on whether coming off medication was in my best interest, but I accept that each month will be new and different. Each month without medication will either get worse or better – and that will be the deciding factor on whether medication is needed in my life.

If you’ve recently come off meds I’d love to hear how you’re getting on. If you’re considering coming off meds, please look into every option before hand and weigh the pros and cons. Coming off medication is a HUGE decision and can positively or negatively impact your life.

Take care lovlies.

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